It was in 2008 when I realised I was pretty damn good at cooking, borne from a competition amongst friends on our version of MasterChef. Despite being runner up, I continued to make and create dishes that I would never have imagined. Making a beef wellington from scratch was an enormous change from my 2-minute noodle days! Then my travels around Europe during a 2 year stint living and working in London, really opened up my senses to a variety drool worthy dishes, a real feast to the eyes and the palate. Who would have thought the Italian trippa smothered in tomato sugo could be so soft and delicate; or the sweet aromas of freshly baked Portuguese tarts could get you out of bed at the crack of dawn; and not to mention the undeniable allure of San Sebastian’s Pintxos bars. Ah memories.
This ridiculous love and passion for food turned into an opportunity to blog for a health & wellness magazine in Hong Kong. For a year, I focused my efforts on creating healthy recipes and tasting and developing content about the local food scene. It wasn’t long ‘til I returned home to oz, working for ‘The Man’ before finally taking the leap, turning that burning passion and drive to start my own business.
Like most locals, I enjoyed Melbourne’s ingrained coffee culture – where else can you have a truly amazing cup made by incredible baristas in every corner? But I admit I was never truly a coffee drinker – GASP! I loved the smell, the flavour and the social aspects of coffee (still do) but I was happy to forego the caffeine jitters, heart palpitations, wide eyes and sleepless nights. So I kicked that over caffeinated habit and started replacing it with delicious warming cups of chai.
This change in my diet presented new types of problems – the extended time waiting for your brew, the flavour inconsistencies, the overly sweet varieties available in the market, and if you get a chance to make it at home, who’s got time clean up the mess? So I thought, simplifying this process can’t be that hard. Let’s use this cooking skill and make a chai concentrate. After my 11th experimental batch, my recipe was on the money and Chai Addict was born.
That was the easy part, now let’s get to the hard parts - permits, rules and regs, producing, packaging, branding, marketing, launching, selling….your never ending list of things to do doesn’t disappear, it continues to grow! You have to be constantly on-the-go, resilient, driven.
How does one keep motivated, I hear you ask? All the hard work pays off because for me, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing return customers and receiving a glowing feedback, or meeting new customers and seeing that infectious smile after their first sip. It sounds so cliché but ask any business owner, that satisfaction is what keeps us going, and gets us to kick on with growing the business.